21/05/2002

Alliance request ceasefire assessment from Reid

The Alliance Party have met with the Secretary of State John Reid at Hillsborough Castle in County Down to discuss the state of paramilitary ceasefires.

The Alliance leader David Ford said that recent UVF arrests in Scotland and news of alleged IRA links with Marxist guerrilla rebels in Colombia had prompted the request to meet with the Northern Ireland Secretary in order to seek clarification on the status of their respective ceasefires.

Mr Ford said: “It is important that parties linked to paramilitary groups meet their obligations under the Agreement. Simply put, that means putting weapons beyond use, and continuing the process of becoming full partners in the democratic process.”

Mr Ford said the next meeting of the Agreement Implementation Group would also be discussed.

He stated: “I expect the next meeting of the Implementation Group to take place before the middle of June. There are obviously many aspects of the Agreement which remain unfulfilled.

“Alliance's top priority will be our continuing campaign to end the sectarian designation system in the Assembly and a key voting mechanism which treats all parties equally. It is important that the Implementation Group gets down to the business of real work now, otherwise there will be little point in further meetings.”

(AMcE)


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